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18 November 2010

Why oestrogen makes you smarter

Oestrogen is an elixir for the brain, sharpening mental performance and showing promise as a treatment for disorders of the brain such as Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia.

Oestrogen is an elixir for the brain, sharpening mental performance and showing promise as a treatment for disorders of the brain such as Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia. But long-term oestrogen therapy, once prescribed routinely for menopausal women, now is quite controversial because of research showing it increases the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

When scientists flipped the switch, technically known as activating an oestrogen receptor, they witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of connections between brains cells, or neurons. Those connections, called dendritic spines, are tiny bridges that enable the brain cells to talk to each other.

 
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